Man Was Legally Insane At Time Of Shooting, Defense Says — (Miami Herald)

SSRI Ed note: Man with drinking problem given Prozac and other antidepressants, they don't work but he shoots a Sheriff's deputy, is charged with murder.

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The Miami Herald (FL)

Thursday, February 21, 1991

Author: DAVID ZEMAN Herald Staff Writer

Murder defendant David Boswell was “at the end of his rope,” slurring his speech and deeply depressed when he shot a sheriff’s deputy outside his Royal Palm Beach home, Boswell’s doctor testified Wednesday.

“David sounded depressed, very depressed,” Dr. Domenico Caporusso testified in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. Caporusso said he was relieved when Boswell admitted that he needed treatment in a telephone conversation only hours before the Aug. 22, 1989, shooting.

“You’re right, doc, I’ve got to help myself,” he recalled Boswell saying. “I’m at the end of my rope here. I’ve got to help myself.”

Sheriff’s deputy James Dickinson was shot as he and a partner attempted to take Boswell into custody for alcoholism that day. The order to have Boswell committed had been signed that morning by Caporusso at the request of Boswell’s family.

Caporusso’s credentials, combined with his conversations with Boswell in the days leading to the shooting, make his testimony crucial to the defense argument that Boswell was legally insane when he shot Dickinson. The state had finished its case just after lunch.

Prosecutor Allen Geesey vigorously cross-examined Caporusso late in the day and got the doctor to concede that Boswell seemed to be coherent in answering questions on the day he shot Dickinson.

Geesey: “And he responded appropriately to everything you had said to him?”

Caporusso: “Uh, yes.”

Caporusso told jurors he first treated Boswell in January 1987 for cirrhosis of the liver. He recounted several alcohol- related hospitalizations later that year.

But in early 1988, Boswell checked into a treatment program and came out two months later “a changed man,” in the doctor’s words. By late 1988, though, anxiety and depression had overcome Boswell once again, Caporusso testified.

He prescribed several medications , including muscle relaxers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants, such as Prozac. Nothing worked.

By August 1989, the anxiety and depression had increased and Boswell returned to Prozac and other drugs.

On cross-examination, Caporusso conceded he was not sure if Boswell was intoxicated in the hours before, though he insisted Boswell’s speech was slurred.

Geesey honed in.

Geesey: “Never once, not once in the time you saw him did you see any kind of psychotic episode, did you?”

Record Number: 9101130194
Copyright (c) 1991 The Miami Herald